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Montego Bay

Photo © Vinanj

Travel Guide Caribbean Jamaica Montego Bay

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Introduction

Montego Bay, commonly referred to as MoBay, is the second largest city in the island nation Jamaica, a member of the British Commonwealth. Montego Bay is the capital of St. James Parish, one of the 14 parishes in Jamaica.

Christopher Columbus sailed into the bay in 1494 and named it "el Golfo de Buen Tiempo" or Fair Weather Bay. The first record of a Spanish settlement here shows it as Monterias. The Spaniards hunted the herds of wild hogs that used to roam the hills and produced and exported 'hog butter' or lard. The name Montego derives from the Spanish "manteca" meaning lard, and Montego Bay is shown on some ancient maps as Lard Bay.

Due in part to its location on the island's north shore, Montego Bay has long since earned the title of 'tourist capital of Jamaica.' It receives the bulk of international flights, and is home to Sangster International Airport, the larger of Jamaica's two main international airports. It is a tourist destination known for its duty-free shopping, cruise line terminal, and the sheltered Doctor's Cave beach with clear turquoise waters, which is one of the most famous beaches on the island.

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Neighbourhoods

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Sights and Activities

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Events and Festivals

  • Pineapple Cup is a yacht race in February that starts in Miami and finishes in Montego Bay.
  • Reggae Sumfest is held in July in Montego Bay.
  • Africa Jamfest - Arty types will love the Africa Jamfest, which showcases art, music and fashion at Montego Bay, Kingston and other destinations in Jamaica in October.

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Weather

Montego Bay's climate is tropical, with hot and humid weather in summer months. Winter days are usually warm with mild nights. Fairly consistent temperatures are experienced throughout the year, around 25 °C to 30 °C and usually 5 °C cooler at night. The rainy season is from May to November, peaking in May and June and in October and November. Rainfall is usually for short periods in the late afternoon and it is still quite possible to enjoy the sun on a visit during these months.

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Avg Max27.9 °C28.2 °C28.8 °C29.5 °C30.2 °C30.9 °C31.3 °C31.4 °C31.1 °C30.4 °C29.7 °C28.4 °C
Avg Min20.7 °C20.4 °C20.9 °C21.9 °C22.6 °C23.1 °C23.5 °C23.6 °C23.1 °C23.1 °C22.8 °C21.9 °C
Rainfall85 mm69 mm27 mm53 mm100 mm122 mm53 mm95 mm127 mm166 mm110 mm103 mm
Rain Days985712107101213119

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Getting There

By Plane

Montego Bay Sangster international airport is on the northwest part of the island. The airport is very close to the cruise ports at Montego Bay and Ochos Rios.

By Boat

Montego Freeport, built in the 1960s on what was called the Bogue Islands, is the port of Montego Bay. The Montego Freeport terminal consists of five primary berths two of which are dedicated exclusively for cruise shipping. There is a telecommunications centre for cruise passengers (and crew), snack and refreshment stand.

Transportation is available from the terminal building, supervised by the Jamaica Tourist Board, which also maintains a visitor information booth. Montego Freeport is about 3km south of town. Taxis to downtown MoBay cost about US$10. Shuttle bus service from the cruise ship pier to downtown City Centre Shopping Mall for US $ 2.-per person each way.

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Getting Around

Gloucester Avenue-which is lined with tourist hotels, shops, and restaurants-has sidewalks on both sides and is best visited on foot. Aside from this road, walking may be considerably less safe.

Buses, minibuses and route taxis arrive and depart from the transportation station off Barnett St at the south end of St James St. There’s an inspector’s office (7:00am-6:00pm) inside the gate where you can ask for the departure point of the bus you’re seeking.

Montego Bay Metro (952-5500; 19A Union St) introduced in 2000 a municipal bus service (around J$100). Montego Bay Metro now operates three routes: Greenwood to City Centre; Sandy Bay to City Centre; and Cambridge to City Centre.

Taxis are readily available, but as with all cities be aware that some drivers will be less honest or reliable than others. follow your instincts; never get into an unmarked car with someone who offers you a ride, and stick with taxi services you recognize. Your hotel can suggest trustworthy drivers. Reliable driver (as used by The Bird's Nest and Five Gable include Frankly (local phone 581 5712) and Smith (local phone 787 7889)

Another very common way of getting anywhere outside the vicinity of your hotel is by tour van. If you book a tour to the falls or the canopy, the driver will usually pick you up at your hotel. For more on tours, check the Do section below.

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Eat

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Drink

Most restaurants also serve drinks. Try a tropical drink or grab a cold Red Stripe in the signature brown bottle, then relax and take in the scenery!

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Sleep

View our map of accommodation in Montego Bay or use the form below to search for availability (Travellerspoint receives a commission for bookings made through the form)

Booking.com

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Work

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Learn

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Keep Connected

Internet

Some resort areas and cities have internet cafés, but wifi is on the rise. It's not alway free though and many luxury places charge for wifi as well. On te other end of the scale, guesthouses and cheaper hotels usually offer free wifi.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

Jamaica's international phone code is 1876.

A prepaid Passport Jamaica SIM card with an international cell phone is the most convenient and economical solution for staying in touch while you travel through Jamaica. It meas much lower charges for calling and especially internet compared to using your home SIM card.

You can also buy simple phones or even rent one. Never use phones at your hotel or resort, as prices go through the roof.

Post

Jamaica Post offers service in the country. It has fairly reliable and affordable services. Postcards and letters take at least a week to 10 day before they arrive in North America, longer for European or other destinations. Most post offices have opening times from 8:00am to 5:00pm Mondays to Fridays. Hotels and resorts usually are able to collect post for you as well. If you want to send a package overseas, use reliable and fast companies like DHL, UPS, TNT or FedEx.

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Quick Facts

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Coordinates
  • Latitude: 18.46936
  • Longitude: -77.921387

Accommodation in Montego Bay

We have a comprehensive list of accommodation in Montego Bay searchable right here on Travellerspoint. You can use our map to quickly compare budget, mid-range or top of the range accommodation in Montego Bay and areas nearby.

Montego Bay Travel Helpers

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This is version 20. Last edited at 3:21 on Aug 2, 17 by sleepBot. 7 articles link to this page.

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